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de Brún highlights importance of Rural Development

14 June, 2007

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún speaking after her meeting with Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew in Brussels today, said:

"I would be hopeful coming out of the meeting with Michelle Gildernew that we can get sign off on the Rural Development programme by July so that we don't face the level of delays experienced in the past in getting programmes started and money out.

"I put to the Minister the importance of ensuring consistency and co-ordination between the Rural Development and Regional Development programmes in order to get the maximum benefit from the available EU funds. Rural regeneration should not be seen as something to be pursued in separate and distinct programmes depending on the Department through which the funding arrives.

"I also welcome the case put to the Commission by the Minister with regard to the level of bureaucracy and red tape and have undertaken to help press this case at EU level in the time ahead. I would also hope that DARD will look at what can be done on this issue at home in keeping with the Minister's recent comments at the Balmoral Show.

"I look forward to working with the Minister, the Executive Office in Brussels and my fellow MEPs on these issues in the time ahead." ENDS

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